Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2010


Although Pedro Almodóvar's 2006 film Volver does not refer to Homeric epic, Odyssean motifs are ubiquitous in the narrative. As they must be, insofar as Homer's poem is the foundational text in Western culture of the very idea of homecoming, or nostos. A meditation on the notion of return (Spanish volver), the film focuses on the modern experience of the family, the connections between husbands and wives, parents and children, memory and identity. Irrespective of intention on Almodóvar's part, to raise and to represent the phenomenon of return is to start a conversation with Homer's Odyssey, which is, in our tradition, the home to which all narratives of homecoming must themselves return. Homer's poem thus exerts a powerful and abiding intertextual influence upon the film. In this essay, I explore these thematic parallels with Homer's Odyssey, and highlight the revolutionary nature of Almodóvar's film, which offers a resolutely original and feminist perspective on the idea of homecoming.


American Classical League


Oxford, Ohio

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